Call for 'amphibian-friendly' roads

Wildlife campaigners are calling for more "amphibian-friendly" roads to protect common toads from being crushed under vehicles during their spring migration to breeding ponds across the country.

Volunteers for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (Arc) are hoping to save nearly 40,000 migrating toads from road traffic this year.

The charity has urged authorities to introduce measures to help the amphibians, such as "toad tunnels", wildlife bridges and lowered kerbs that the creatures can climb.

Meanwhile, under Arc's annual Toads on Roads scheme, people carrying torches and buckets will head out during spring evening to help the toads cross busy roads at designated points.

Project co-ordinator Lucy Benyon said: "These volunteer toad patrollers are incredibly committed and some volunteers have been out on spring nights saving toads for almost 25 years.

"This spring, we're keen to break the 40,000 toad-mark, partly as a symbolic gesture to show planners and highways authorities that this is a serious issue for wildlife conservation, and that this issue isn't going away without their taking notice."

Common toads begin their annual migration in spring after they emerge from hibernation and travel to the same locations to breed.

The numbers of these amphibians are declining in some parts of the UK, while their migration has been delayed this year due to the cold weather and late spring.

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